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The flavors of eggplant parmesan in a portable, handheld lunch.
It took me a while to warm up to eggplant. I wasn’t swayed by the ha-ha Seinfeldian nature of the name. When it comes to foods that I don’t like, the texture is usually to blame.
I wasn’t quite sure where to place eggplant on the texture spectrum. It’s meaty, but can get mushy when cooked, and depending on the kind, the seeds make it extremely unappealing.
Just like it happened with beans, I discovered I do like eggplant when I ate it in dip form. After I had experienced baba ganoush, I ventured into Asian-style eggplant, and then decided to go for the classic eggplant parmesan.
Eggplant parm tends to be where I fall off the eggplant bandwagon, because so often it is overcooked and turns into a mushy mess that only lots of cheese and tomato sauce can save. (Which luckily is included in most recipes for it.)
However, I’m of the opinion that if we’re going to feature an ingredient, it should really be featured, right? Though I can get behind pureeing certain veggies into pasta sauce or adding squash to muffins, I don’t think we’re really teaching anyone to enjoy vegetables when we hide them.
These eggplant parmesan subs still have the cheese and tomato everyone loves — and plenty of carbs with the bread — but the eggplant is only quickly fried, allowing the edges to crisp up while maintaining the integrity of the interior.
You can skip the step for making the tomato sauce and use jarred stuff if you like, but I figure, we might as well embrace all that summer has to offer, right?
Take these sandwiches a step even further into summer bliss by slathering pesto on the bread before adding the other toppings. Just be careful to not burn your mouth on these babies as you try to eat them from straight under the broiler.
- 2 eggplant, about 3/4 pound each
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil, divided
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomato
- 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- 4 ounces sliced mozzarella or 1 cup shredded
- 4 hoagie rolls or small baguettes, sliced open lengthwise
- Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds. Sprinkle cut sides with 2 teaspoons salt and place in a colander set in the sink or over a bowl to drain.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes, until tomatoes have broken down.
- Stir in chopped basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer, creating a chunky sauce.
- Rinse salt off eggplant and pat dry with a towel.
- Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl. Stir together breadcrumbs and parmesan in another shallow bowl.
- Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a sauté pan over medium until oil shimmers.
- Dip eggplant slices in egg, letting excess drip, and then dip into breadcrumb mixture. Turn to coat.
- Place slices in hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside to a paper-towel lined plate to drain while you finish the remaining slices.
- To assemble, spread 1 spoonful of tomato sauce on the bottom of each hoagie bun. Lay eggplant slices on top, then add more tomato sauce as desired. Top each with 1 ounce (or ¼ cup shredded) mozzarella.
- If desired, place sandwiches on a baking sheet and cook under the broiler for a few minutes to melt mozzarella and crisp the bread.
More eggplant recipes you might like:
Eggplant Goat Cheese Croquettes – Stetted
Grilled Eggplant and Cilantro Dip – Healthy Green Kitchen
Grilled Eggplant and Pesto Sandwiches – Love and Lemons
Lamb, Eggplant, and Fig Skillet – Stetted
Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Dip – The Lemon Bowl